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Heavenly doughnuts

Hot or cold, sweet or savoury, however it’s done, fried dough is a universal delight!

Even in regions where there isn’t an abundance of wheat or notable baking tradition (such as Japan), you can usually find a regional or national speciality pastry that involves deep-frying batter. Whatever the shape, size or flavour, many started off as a special treat or a speciality festival food, though now can be found gracing outdoor and indoor markets as street food.

The ‘traditional’ American-style doughnut (or ‘donut’) of popular culture tends to be finished with sugar, frosting or a glaze and popular fillings are cream, custard, jam or chocolate. If you fancy making your own, visit the BBC Food website! Search at: for some tasty inspiration.

In case you’d rather sample them first, the Flexicover Team pick out some unusual favourites for you to check out on your travels!

Jalebi; India

Best eaten hot, these sticky, syrupy loops of fried dough (similar to funnel cakes in the USA) are popular in the South Asian subcontinent, particularly India, Pakistan and Nepal. Variants are also common in the Middle East (zalabiya) and the African Maghreb (zlebia). Bite into a well-soaked jalebi, with their slightly chewy texture, and taste a sweet flood of rose or cardamom-scented syrup! They are often served on special occasions like birthdays, weddings and festivals, especially during Ramadan. A must-try treat if you’re heading east this year!

Bombolone; Italy

This scrumptious treat (originating in Tuscany) is a real favourite all over Italy! The thick, round and fluffy masterpieces of dough are coated in sugar and injected with chocolate, marmalade or rich Italian custard. Where they differ from similar pastries is that the filling is added from the top and deliberately left slightly visible. Bomboloni can be found in most cafés and pasticceries (patisseries) across the country (often with regional variations) and Tuscans even enjoy them at the beach. When in Italy, look out for this delightful dish!

Tulumba; Turkey

This fabulous Turkish pastry is made from unleavened, heavy, egg dough and then deep fried. The ridged pieces resemble US-style crullers, although shorter and with a crunchier shell. The dough is piped using a bag and special nozzle into hot oil and then soaked in caramel syrup, before leaving to cool. This dish is also popular throughout the Balkans, particularly in Bulgaria and Serbia. In certain regions of Turkey, tulumba is often served with chopped nuts or coconut as an extra topping. Have it with cream for a delicious snack!

Youtiao; China

Also known as Chinese oil sticks or Chinese crullers, these long golden-brown strips of fried dough are lightly salted doughnuts, which are usually torn in half and eaten at breakfast. They are commonly dipped into rice porridge (congee) or soy milk (rather than chocolate sauce as you’d find with Hispanic churros, which they also resemble) or even found stuffed inside a flatbread to make the dish known as shaobing yóutiáo. They are a popular dish in China and south-eastern Asia (from Laos to Indonesia), so if you’re lucky enough to travel there this year, do try some with your morning meal!

Sfenj; Morocco

Eaten any time of the day and loved by young and old alike, these Moroccan toroidal (ring-shaped) doughnuts, whilst similar to classic American donuts, are in fact quite rough in appearance. They’re made with sticky, unsweetened yeasted dough and street vendors will often make them fresh in huge oil barrels! Enjoy them fresh at most markets, choosing between plain or dusted with sugar and more so with fresh mint tea, just like the locals.

Whatever treats you savour in your travels, we at Flexicover are committed to providing you the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away. Safe travels!